The Daughter of Highland Hall
By Carrie Turansky
Edwardian Brides #2
Multnomah Books, 2014
What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor . . . what if it isn't enough?
Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain's elite.
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London's East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love---and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served.
The Daughter of Highland Hall is set in Edwardian England, 1912, and opens with Katherine trying to perfect the art of curtsying in preparation for her "coming out" and presentation to the king and queen. Historical details - descriptions of balls and other social events, clothing, locale, and travel - were just the right amount to help visualize the era. (Visit Carrie's The Daughter of Highland Hall Pinterest board to really get a feel for this time and place.) Characters are well drawn, and while this isn't an action-packed story, it's a good, steady narrative with which to relax and enjoy a sweet romance.
I have not read the first story, The Governess of Highland Hall, but was able to pick up on previous plot lines and easily connect with the characters. Series readers will enjoy reconnecting with William and Julia, as well as seeing the emotional and spiritual maturing of Katherine.
All the elements that make up British society are present here - social structure and the importance of marrying within one's own class; the fact that family connections are everything and any hint of scandal must be avoided at all cost. London's East End depicts the great chasm between the rich and the poor. I loved how Sir William's family was often known for ignoring the rules of society at the risk of their social acceptance.
Characterization revolves around William and Julia's family, including servants, and these likeable characters that I want to spend more time with are one strength of this story. There's also humor and multi-layered plots, which I always enjoy.
Jonathan, Julia's brother and medical student, is easy to connect with and I loved seeing him interact with the East End residents. Katherine is pushed toward available males with the impeccable backgrounds by her ambitious aunt, and I enjoyed seeing her journey toward maturity.
The spiritual element is another strength of this story. Spiritual themes are woven throughout this story - such as having a personal relationship with Christ, being unequally yoked, God's call to service on our lives, and a clear presentation of gospel message.
Although the narrative seemed a little slow at times, I grew so attached to the characters that I enjoyed The Daughter of Highland Hall overall and want to read the other books in this series. Book #3, A Refuge at Highland Hall, comes out in October 2015. Recommended to fans of inspirational historical romance.
Carrie Turansky is an award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and novellas. She has written contemporary and historical romances, women's fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Scott, and they have five adult children and four grandchildren.
Find Carrie online at carrieturansky.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. To learn more, visit the Litfuse blog tour page.